Tag Archives: business

  • Courtesy wikimedia commons

    Japan’s concerns about UK’s Brexit deal

    A letter from the Japanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs published last year has resurfaced this week, and is a stark reminder of how little progress has been made on Brexit negotiations, and of the uncertainty it causes for industry and trade.

  • Yorkshire, Brexit and the General Election – A film from FRANCE 24 (in English)

    FRANCE 24 came over to Yorkshire to film a piece on how people and politicians in the region felt about Brexit and the General Election. It was a pleasure to take them to University of Leeds and Digital Exchange in Bradford to explore the views of students and the technology community. Pour nos amis français, il ya a une version en français aussi.

  • courtesy 54north via Wikimedia Commons

    Leeds Bradford Airport

    Leeds Bradford Airport is a major player in the economic fortunes of North and West Yorkshire, connecting us not only directly to the rest of Europe but also, both directly and indirectly, to much of the rest of the world. I’ve been there several times since I was re-elected in 2014, and most recently I […]

  • courtesy BASF

    Strong words from big employers

    Over the last few weeks, we’ve heard a series of forecasts from independent experts both at home and around the world about the potentially disastrous consequences of leaving the EU for British jobs and workers and our standard of living. But we don’t have to take their word for it. To get the view from […]

  • courtesy 401kcalculator.org via Flickr

    Fighting for tax transparency in Europe

    The fight continues against tax-dodging and secrecy for multinational corporations, with an important vote in Parliament yesterday. My colleague Anneliese Dodds MEP, together with Rachel Reeves MP, wrote about this in the Times this week. The full article is not free, but the extract below summarises the key issues: Labour MEPs have pressed the case […]

  • Stronger In

    Behind the headlines of Stronger In

    This week, the Stronger In campaign sent a newsletter called Europe & You to households across Britain. It does a good job of presenting the hard-headed economic case for our continuing EU membership. Earlier this week, a group of journalists got together to launch an excellent new initiative called InFacts, dedicated to fact-checking EU campaign […]

  • Parliamentary debate

    EU regulation: help or hindrance?

    I talk about the pros and cons of EU regulation in a parliamentary debate.

  • Parliament screenshot

    In the debate on steel and competition policy

    I speak in Parliament about how the EU can help support the steel industry in Britain.

  • Ending overfishing: a welcome call from British businesses

    During the much needed recent reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (reform which even Greenpeace hailed as a great success), several British businesses made the case that more sustainable fishing practices ensure the viability of their industries. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s now-famous ‘Fish Fight‘ campaign against the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea was a […]

  • courtesy Smith & Nephew

    Workplace visits

    Over the past couple of months, I’ve been visiting several major employers in Yorkshire & Humber, not least for discussions on how various EU policies and rules affect them. Reflecting on these experiences, two things strike me. The first is simply pride: I’m amazed by the diversity and international reach of the work that’s done […]

  • European Commission building

    Labour MEPs welcome Commission’s proposals for better regulation but warn against deregulation

    Labour MEPs have broadly welcomed the European Commission’s proposals for better regulation, but warned against deregulation of social and consumer rights and environmental measures. The Commission, responding to pressure from the European Parliament, today published its “Better Regulation” package: a proposal to revamp the EU’s legislative procedures to improve effectiveness and transparency and to subject […]

  • Open sign

    Response from the Commission on VAT

    Readers of this blog will know that I’ve been providing regular updates on the work Labour MEPs are doing to address the so-called VAT-MOSS issue, where originally well-intentioned changes to cross-border VAT rules have ended up affecting small and micro-businesses severely and disproportionately. I’ve raised the problem in conversations with Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of […]

  • Pound coins

    Progress on VAT issues

    The VAT-MOSS issue was raised today in a debate in the European Parliament by a number of MEPs. Encouragingly, European Commission Vice-President Timmermans, responding to the debate, confirmed that the Commission was taking these concerns very seriously, and that they had started to work on it even before David Cameron raised the issue at last […]

  • courtesy pixabay.com

    VAT changes: discussions with the Commission

    I wrote a detailed blog post in January on the issue of VAT changes and how they affect small and micro-businesses, and I promised to follow up with details of further developments as Labour MEPs kept up the pressure. In recent weeks, Labour MEPs — including myself and Anneliese Dodds, who leads for us on […]

  • Tax calculator

    More on small businesses and VAT

    New Europe-wide rules for VAT came into force this month, having been debated and agreed by EU countries back in 2008. Among other things, the rules introduce a requirement for EU businesses selling digital services to charge VAT to online customers in other European countries at the rate that applies in the buyer’s country, rather […]

  • Courtesy of Tomasz Sienicki via Wikimedia Commons

    Revenge of the directory scams

    From correspondence I’ve had with constituents recently, it seems that an old scam has resurfaced. It was previously known as the European City Guide, but seems to have recently reinvented itself as the “United Kingdom Industry Commerce Directory”. Under various names, this shady organisation sends an official-looking form to small businesses, voluntary organisations and even […]

  • Tax calculator

    Small businesses and VAT

    From 2015, EU countries have agreed a change to VAT rules in the single market. Until now, companies who sell across borders have usually been able to charge (and pay) VAT at the rate of their home country. This has allowed large multinational corporations to base themselves in countries with the lowest rates of VAT […]

  • courtesy Epizentrum via Wikimedia Commons

    ECB stress tests — accounting standards

    Question In a comprehensive assessment of 130 banks, consisting of an asset review (AQR) and a stress test, it was found that some banks had been ‘explicitly non-compliant’ with accounting practices, with some 8% of the total provision increase reported as deriving from a misalignment with accounting standards. Have any sanctions been applied to those […]

  • courtesy BBC

    →A pro-European Tory in the City of London

    Mark Field, Conservative MP, sticks his head above the parapet to talk sense: ‘Britain must lead in Europe to remain a financial powerhouse‘: The temporary peace David Cameron brokered within the Conservative Party may yet unravel if UKIP make the gains they are expected to on 22 May. Many colleagues will misinterpret a robust electoral showing […]

  • British Bankers’ Association

    I was invited to speak to the British Bankers’ Association this morning on the future of the EU, along with the distinguished journalist Simon Nixon of the Wall Street Journal. He and I actually agreed on many of the issues and concerns raised: that there is no great danger of the Eurozone ‘caucussing’ on other […]

  • Paul Sykes is out on a limb

    Paul Sykes, Yorkshire’s multimillionaire, has a view on EU membership diametrically opposed to that of most businesses in Britain. He doesn’t hesitate to proclaim that British businesses hate the EU, but this is not true: Confederation of British Industry supports EU membership (80% of companies want us to stay in) Federation of Small Businesses supports EU […]

  • At FSB hustings on 30 April

    Federation of Small Businesses hustings

    The hustings debate with candidates from each party, organised by the Federation of Small Businesses in Sheffield on Wednesday, was exactly what a debate should be: about different options for policies and where the parties stand on them, rather than on the existence of the EU and our membership of it — this is a […]

  • UK manufacturers’ positive manifesto

    The EEF, Britain’s manufacturer’s organisation, has just published Europe – A Manifesto for Growth. In the words of their Chief Exec, Terry Scuoler, We strongly support Britain’s continued membership of the EU. And not unreasonably, they have their own set of proposals for the future of the union, focusing on policy and delivery. This is a […]

  • Farage’s switcheroo

    Did anyone else notice a curious change in rhetoric from Nigel Farage in the BBC debate the other day? UKIP has always painted itself as the heroic defender of British business interests, fighting back with the sword of patriotism against modern-day European aggressors. Of course, British business has been staunchly unequivocal in its support of Britain’s […]

  • UKIP scare tactics

    I was disturbed to see a couple of days ago that UKIP have upped their anti-EU propaganda campaign and are now sending direct-mail letters, packed with frightening myths, to British small businesses in a thinly-veiled attempt to scare them into switching their vote in the upcoming election. This bizarre letter, sent to MOT testing centres […]